Here today we have an uncommon bottle from a weird off brand of Heaven Hill. It's a bit of a sleeper due to the fact that it has very limited geographical distribution but if you happen to live in North Carolina apparently this stuff is dirt cheap and plentiful. I also hear that it's available in Alabama and Japan but I have no idea if it is quite as cheap there. I've had good experiences with similar Heaven Hill products like their 6 year old Bottled in Bond as well as a Luxco Heaven Hill sourced bourbon that shares these exact stats in Old Ezra 101 7 year so I expect this to go well.
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey; Aged 7 years; 50.5% ABV; $11
Nose: The poster child of a no frills bourbon - corn, vanilla, oak, sweet caramel. There are hints of grainy new make which tells that while it has plenty of age, there is still a little youth to it.
Taste: A well rounded combo of sweet and oak with a little rye and char bite in the finish. The 101 proof gives it a nice kick in the pants without being overly hot. Again there are traces of younger new make grainy corn mash which are in-line with what you'd expect from a bourbon at this age. It's about as classic bourbon as you can get.
Thoughts: No surprises here, it tastes exactly like a seven year old 101 proof bourbon from a long tenured distillery should. I'm going off memory but this is on par with the Old Ezra 101 so it wouldn't surprise me if it's the same product with a different label. Considering this is significantly cheaper than the Ezra, that makes this the best bourbon I've ever had under $20. If this was available here at the same price it would easily overtake Wild Turkey 101 as my house whiskey since it's less than half the price and just about as enjoyable.
Rating: C+ / B-
Thanks to /u/rhinusdax for the generous gift of this bottle and be sure to check out his review here.
Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating.